Korean through music: Poor Tom by 자우림

Monday, March 08, 2010

This is the first new Korean through music post I've done since 2006 or so when I used to write them on my Cyworld page. This one is also with 자우림 but a newer song, and one of their rare songs where one of the guys sings (except for a bit of accompaniment at the end). The song is nice and slow though some of the expressions are poetic so some colloquial equivalents and notes on usage will have to be included.

더러워진 - (become) dirty. The word for dirty is 더럽다, and because this is an adjective with a ㅂ at the end the ㅂ disappears and turns into an 우 which is then conjugated (like 덥다 - 더워 or 춥다 - 추워 for example). After this add a -지다 which gives the meaning of becoming, and then a ㄴ at the end attaches it to the next noun, which is:

이름 - name. Both of these together thus mean a 'name that has become dirty'.

과 - and

망가진 - broken. Comes from 망가지다 (to break down), then ㄴ is used in the same way as above to attach it to the next noun, which is:

몸뚱이 - body. The normal word for body though is just 몸, so no need to go around saying 몸뚱이 every time you want to use the word body. Put together with 망가진 above it means a broken down body.

으스러진 - crushed, smashed. From 으스러지다, and once again ㄴ is used to connect it to the next word, which is:

내 발 - my feet. Technically it's singular (foot), but there is no strict need to always indicate the plural. Together with the above it means 'my crushed feet'. Note the word order here, as it goes 'crushed mt feet', not 'my crushed feet'. 내 으스러진 발 is not incorrect though. We're not done with the feet though, because next we have:

아래 - under (the feet just mentioned). So what's under the feet?

심술궂은 웃음소리. 심술 means something similar to meanness, and putting 쟁이 on the end means rascal, perhaps a boy that does too many practical jokes or mischief on others. Here we have 심술궂다 meaning mean or unpleasant, then use ㄴ to connect it to the next word, which is 웃음소리 or laugh(ter). 웃다 means to laugh, and take off the 다 and put a ㅁ at the bottom to make it a noun (a laugh). At the end here is 소리, which means sound, thus a sound of laughter.

All together these mean "The sound of wicked laughter under my crushed feet". Next we have:

어김없는 - usual, without fail. The root here is 어김없다, and 는 is used to join it to the next noun. The usual...

슬픔 - sadness. After it is a 은 so we know that 'the usual/infallible sadness' is the subject, so let's see what it does:

비명을 떠다니다. 비명 is a scream or shriek. 떠다니다 means to float (around). All these together mean "the usual sadness floats on a scream". We're still talking about this sadness in the next sentence too.

바람에 - to (also from, by means of) the wind. 바람 is wind and 에 means to. What does the wind do? It...

이끌린 척 내 곁에 앉는다 - sits next to me, as if (pretending to be) brought in by the wind. 이끌리다 means to be pulled, then ㄴ connects this to the next noun or word as usual. Here though we have 척, which means to pretend to do. So here the sadness is pretending to be pulled in by the wind. After that the grammar is quite easy, with 내 곁에 (next to me) and then 앉는다 (sits). All this together then might be translated as "The usual sadness floats around on a scream, sits down beside me as if taken in by the wind".

가여운 - pitiful. This is a weird adjective which is written as 가엾다, but conjugates as if its dictionary form were 가엽다...although one will also see it written as 가엾은 but still pronounced as 가여운. In the meantime, just remember it as 가엽다 with a ㅅ at the end, and keep in mind that Koreans confuse the spelling of this word too.

눈빛으로 - with a look. 눈빛 literally means 'eye light', so one's look or expression. (으)로 denotes using, so put together with 가여운 above it means 'with a pitiful look'

세상을 조롱하면 - if you mock the world. 세상 is the world, 을 makes it the object, and 조롱하다 means to mock. Remove the 다 at the end and put 면 on the end to mean 'if'. All together it means "If you mock (one mocks) the world with a pathetic look"...

내게 묻던 사랑 - the love that had been rubbed/stained on me. 내게 means to/on me, and 묻다 means to be stained or rubbed on. That's the verb you use when you get coffee or blood or wine or whatnot on your shirt. Here though the noun is 사랑 (love). -던 denotes something in the far past, so the man here is thinking about love he used to have, though 묻다 is not the verb one would normally use for love. It's cynical.

은 - makes the previously mentioned love the subject. That love...

추하고 더러워진다 - becomes ugly and dirty. 추하다 means ugly, and taking off the 다 and putting 고 on lets us add another adjective. You can add as many adjectives as you like using this (좋고, 재미 있고, 맛있고...) though too many in a row may make one sound a tad illiterate (It's good AND fun AND tasty AND...). The next adjective here is 더러워지다 which is dirty (더럽다), which becomes 더러워지다 (become dirty). The ㄴ before the 다 is tough to explain but just think of it as something used in declarative statements. It has no particular special meaning that would show itself in an English translation.

들린다 - (I can) hear (it). Lit. is heard. To hear is 듣다. Once again we have the ㄴ before the 다 as above.

기억의 끝 - the end of memory. 기억 is memory, 의 marks the possessive, and 끝 is end. Be careful that you don't mistake someone saying 끝! (done!) for English good, which is written as 굿 and sometimes used for fun.

저편에 - over there / that side. 편 means side, and also has the same meaning as side in English as in "just whose side are you on?" (대체 누구 편이야?).


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